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Western Animation / Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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"His First Full-Length Feature Production."

"Some day, my prince will come,
Some day, we'll meet again,
And away to his castle we'll go,
To be happy forever I know...
Some day, when spring is here,
We'll find our love anew,
And the birds will sing,
And wedding bells will ring,
Some day, when my dreams come true..."

Walt Disney made "Snow White" into an animated movie in 1937, the first full-length animated feature film in the English-speaking world ("English-speaking" being an important disclaimer, though it was at least definitely the first cel-animated one) and the first entry in the Disney Animated Canon. Using a number of new technologies and animation techniques, the film set high standards for future projects and can be considered a defining moment in animation history. Disney adapted the Grimms' story fairly closely, but allowed Snow White and her prince to meet earlier in the story (removing some of the Squick), and made the dwarfs into individual characters. He condensed the three assassination attempts into one and gave the queen a much more family-friendly Disney Villain Death (though, all things considered, it's arguably more violent than the original one.)


Part of the reason Snow White was made was for the purpose of economics — despite the ambitious art and extreme popularity of the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies shorts, Walt came to realize that no matter how successful his shorts were, they only earned a fixed revenue from their screenings, regardless of their popularity. Realizing that venturing out into making a feature-length animated film could not only net him more profit in the long run, but also progress the medium of animation as an art-form, he began work on his daring project. Around four years were spent by Disney trying to get this mammoth project off the ground—first, there was the obsessive attention to story — Walt had the savvy to realize that a feature that played out like a traditional short cartoon comedy would never work, resulting in focus on the characters' personalities, their interactions, as well as their development in the context of the tale. The most prominent example of this character development would be the character of Grumpy, arguably the most important character in the film aside from Snow White herself.


Another obstacle was getting the animation to be on par with a live-action film — even the best Silly Symphonies and Mickey Mouse cartoons during the early 1930s were still rigid and crude in their motion. As a result, life-drawing classes and frame-by-frame studying of live-action film took place, in an ambitious attempt to get the most life-like animation possible. The Silly Symphonies began to be used as testing grounds for the work that would go into Snow White — from advancements in story and character animation, to major special effects discoveries. The studio also had to expand considerably to complete the film — from a measly few hundred to nearly 1000 staffers by the film's completion. At one point, Walt almost ran out of money during production, and was lucky enough to receive a bank loan by showing what footage had already been finished. During production, the film was derided by critics, as well as Walt's own wife, as "Disney's Folly", the notion that Walt had gone over his head with this project. But upon debut, Snow White was a smash hit — at the time, it was the highest grossing film of all time, and was universally praised by critics, setting the stage for the future Disney films to come, and proving that animation could compete with live-action films.

As for the plot, we're not even going to bother summarizing it, since everybody knows about this film and its story by now. (Well, we did anyway)

Filmation made an unofficial sequel called Happily Ever After.

The Snow White character herself eventually appeared in the Kingdom Hearts series as a Princess of Heart, one of seven iconic Disney heroines with a pure heart free of darkness. A version of the film's setting and plot would later appear in 2010's Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as the Dwarf Woodlands, with some changes to fit the series, such as the original character Terra standing in for the huntsman. The Disney Press Perspective Flip novel series A Tale Of..., meanwhile, gives the Queen a backstory in Fairest of All.

The film contains examples of:

  • Accidental Art: Dopey gets an awesome drum solo during the Silly Song. He was trying to smash a fly with drumsticks at the time.
  • Actionized Adaptation: An action sequence of the dwarfs chasing down the wicked Queen after she poisoned Snow White wasn't in the original tale.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Sticks very close to the original story, but the things it cuts out (the two other ways Snow White was going to be murdered: by a poisoned comb and by being strangled from a tight corset) and things it adds in (personalities for the dwarfs) usually work to the story's benefit. The other failed assassination attempts were going to be there, but were scrapped due to time and budget constraints. (It also makes Snow White look like less of an idiot if she only falls for one
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: The dwarfs' mine has a huge variety of gems that are all already perfectly cut. Doc's evaluations aren't even really about their carats, but whether they "sound" good via tapping them.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The Queen's real name, according to comic strips and old press material, is Queen Grimhilde.
    • The Huntsman's name, Humbert, is also not given onscreen.
    • The prince's name is Ferdinand, according to some sources (including a series of park hotel rooms named after various Disney princes), although it's rarely used and opinions vary on whether or not it's to be considered official.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: The dwarfs do this to Sneezy. Sneezy himself provides the page image.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The titles of the books in the Evil Queen's dungeon are as follows: Black Arts, Alchemy, Witch Craft, Black Magic, Disguises (which is used), Sorcery, Poisons, and Astrology.
  • Art Shift: The book in the Book-Ends is filmed in live-action.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: The Dwarfs angrily chase the Queen to the top of a cliff during the climax. The Queen then turns the tables and starts to dislodge a giant boulder, forcing them to evade, until the storm takes care of her a few seconds later.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Someday My Prince Will Come", especially the Barbara Streisand version.
  • Badass Adorable: The birds who attack the Evil Queen.
  • Bat Scare: When Snow White runs through the woods she passes near a small cave where some bats dwell and she wakes them up, causing them to flee. She's startled and scared by them.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Technically played straight with Snow White, although Disney intentionally made her "cute" instead of ravishingly beautiful. Averted with the Queen, who is the second fairest in the land, and rotten to the core.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Literally and figuratively, in that White is predominant among Good characters (right down to Prince Charming's horse) while the Queen wears Black.
  • Bluebird of Happiness: Snow White sings to one.
  • Book-Ends: The movie opens with a shot of a book opening by itself to give out exposition and ends with the same book closing itself.
  • Botanical Abomination: When a truly terrified Snow White escapes in the woods the trees around her looks like horrible humanoid creatures with angry faces, clawed hands and very glaring evil eyes. Turns out it's just her imagination running wild.
  • Boulder Bludgeon: The dwarfs corner the evil Queen at the top of a cliff. Enraged, the Queen tries to dislodge a nearby boulder onto the dwarfs. It nearly works, until a bolt of lightning strikes the Queen from her perch to her death.
  • Call-and-Response Song: "I'm Wishing," between Snow White and her own echoing voice in the wishing well.
  • Cape Swish: The Queen manages a particularly impressive one when rushing down from the Mirror Room to her secret spell-chamber.
  • Circling Vultures: Two vultures follow the Queen in her Wicked Witch disguise, as she goes to the cottage to get Snow White, and their presence alerts the Woodland Creatures that there is something seriously wrong about the "peddler woman" with her basket of apples. In the end, the vultures were not after Snow White at all, but after the Queen, and as she falls to her doom, the vultures slowly circle down after her.
  • Climbing Climax: The dwarfs and animals chase the transformed queen to the top of a cliff.
  • Cool Crown: The Queen wears a crown with spikes evoking the rays of the sun.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The Magic Mirror - he has a creepy face and a weird voice, but he's not evil and he's not a Queen's henchman, he just does his job answering questions. In other Disney material later on, it was shown that the mirror was now owned by Walt Disney, and only used for good purposes.
    • The vultures that followed the Queen. They were initially presented as a sign that she's Obviously Evil, and Snow White's animal friends take it as such. In the end, it turns out that they were just looking for a meal.
    • Bats fly past Snow White during her escape in the forest. Though bats are dark-coloured and usually seen as scary, and on the surface the bats in this scene appear as frightening, they're ironically just as scared as she is since she startled them by waking them up, and they don't mean any harm to her.
  • Darker and Edgier: This movie was Disney's darkest work by far when it was created. It focused far more on drama than comedy, had quite a few legitimate scares, and its antagonist was a very evil, very dangerous character played completely seriously.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: During Snow White's run in the forest, the animals' eyes glow in the darkness. Because of Snow White's fear and confusion, they look inhuman and demonic.
  • Daylight Horror: When the Queen, transformed into an old hag, tricks Snow White to eat the poison apple and Snow White subsequently seemingly dies, it's in broad daylight.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: After Snow White eats the apple, we see her hand flopping to the floor to show that she's unconscious. For added bonus she drops the apple she was holding.
  • Death by Irony: Cornered on a cliff by the dwarfs, the Queen/Hag tries to knock a boulder loose and bellows "I'll fix ya! I'LL CRUSH YOUR BONES!!" She cackles madly...when suddenly a bolt of lightning shatters the ledge she's standing on, sending the wicked Queen falling into her doom, shortly followed by the boulder falling after her. Don't even guess whose bones got crushed...
  • Death Glare: When Snow is running through the forest, she hallucinates monsters in the trees glaring at her evilly. The Queen also shows one when talking to the Huntsman.
  • Deranged Animation: The dark forest sequence—while a terrified Snow White flees through the woods, the wildlife seems to come to life to terrorize her. It ends with dozens of malicious-looking eyes glaring down at her from the darkness (though these turn out to be the friendly forest creatures.)
  • Didn't Think This Through: The hunter. Snow White staying would be sure death, but sending a young little girl with no hunting experience to the forest isn't a good option either.
  • Dinner Deformation: Dopey's stomach gets a rectangular bulge after he swallowed a bar of soap.
  • Disappeared Dad: Snow White's father is not in her life. It can be assumed he died, seeing as her stepmother seemed to be running the kingdom.
  • Discretion Shot: Snow White's death, the pig's heart, and the Queen getting pecked by vultures after falling off the cliff.
  • Disney Death: In one of the earliest examples, Snow White herself!
  • Disneyfication: The first example, although not quite as much as later entries. The biggest change is the death of the Queen - who falls off a cliff while trying to kill the dwarfs instead of being forced by Snow and her prince to dance in red hot shoes at their wedding. The film also makes Snow a Friend to All Living Things with a beautiful singing voice.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Replaced a Family-Unfriendly Death in the source material. The death is in some ways more extreme than the pre-Disney versions — it follows the Rule of Three! But it is only implied, not shown. And since it was nature killing the Queen, none of the good guys had to — which makes it more family-friendly that way. Quite fitting, considering she's the first Disney Animated Canon villain.
    • Some comics subvert this; since the death is No One Could Survive That!, they show that she survived.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Snow White's the fairest in the land, so the Queen tries to kill her.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Well, no, you can. Unless you usually jump at shadows or you're scared enough to imagine things as hideous monsters, giant bats, logs - alligators etc.
  • Don't Touch It, You Fools!:
    • It might be poison!! See?! It's witch's brew!
    • Grumpy has this reaction to the bar of soap.
  • Dope Slap:
    • Doc gives one to (who else?) Dopey for goofing around while they're working in the mine.
    • Also, Dopey thinks that The Queen has somehow hidden herself under Happy's beard; Happy bops Dopey on the head for trying to be investigate.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Regarding the Storybook Opening, which shows the book closing to the back cover at the end. Later instances of this would have the book close back to its front cover instead.
    • There’s no narrator to read the book, which was changed for all future films presumably because the movie makers realized their target audience wasn’t good at reading.
    • As far as Disney Villain Deaths go, the Queen's is a little different from later instances of the trope in that there's no Plummet Perspective when she falls from the cliff. The camera remains focused on the ledge. Although, that was likely done so we'd see the boulder come tumbling after her.
    • As far as Disney's other fairy tale adaptations go, this one has very little Adaptation Expansion. The only thing making this different from its literary counterpart is that the prince appears earlier, the Queen only disguises herself once and the dwarfs have more fleshed out personalities. Compare to Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and the Renaissance films, which do considerably more in the adaptation.
    • Unshaved Mouse noted that the film was very much like a series of the Disney shorts edited together - notably the extended bits of Snow White exploring the house, the dwarfs finding it clean and the forest animals trying to warn everyone about the Queen. Starting with Pinocchio the Disney films became much more cinematic.
  • Empathic Environment: As soon as the Queen leaves the cottage after poisoning Snow White, it's suddenly dark and stormy outside.
  • Epic Fail: The Queen's plan to kill Snow White and be the fairest one of all. Instead, she dies a horrible death as the ugliest person of all, and the "wishing apple" she gives Snow White really does end up granting Snow White's wish.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While it's not clear exactly how "evil" the hunter is, it is implied that he has killed people for the Queen before, or at least done dirty deeds. Doesn't mean he has the stomach to brutally murder a young girl for no good reason.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The dark forest sequence where seems like everything comes to life to catch Snow White.
  • Evil Laugh: The Queen does several once in hag form.
  • Evil Overlooker: Some posters and cover art since the 1993 reissue place the Queen on the top.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Everything except the very last scene takes place within two days.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Dopey manages to swallow both a bar of soap and a spoon (in a deleted scene) with one gulp each. Granted, both times were by accident, and eating this kind of stuff often gives him the hiccups. The aforementioned deleted scene also has Dopey eventually regurgitating both of these.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: In what may be the Ur-Example, the Evil Queen does this when she transforms herself into a witch. An unusual example in that by the time the screen fades to black, the eyes have almost completely faded away, but you can still see them for a second.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Grumpy storming out and walking straight into a door.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At one point Grumpy refers to the Queen as an "old witch".
    • This happens on a meta level when the dwarfs come home to an occupied house:
    In unison: Jiminy Crickets!
    • Another meta-instance occurs when Snow White mournfully wonders whether their cottage's occupants are orphaned children without a mother, with the shot panning to a fawn nuzzling its mother.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: There are several moments in her evil monologue about her plan to poison Snow White where the Queen as a hag seems to be addressing the audience directly, but camera cuts show she's addressing her bird.
  • Full-Name Basis: It's not necessarily a full-name basis. Snow White is a translation of the German name Schneewittchen, which is one word. Germans love compound words.
  • Funny Background Event: It's tricky to spot and certainly unintentional, but when Snow White enters the dwarfs' house for the first time, her forest friends creep in with her. The animators apparently forgot which animals they were drawing, because one rabbit hops behind another and comes out a squirrel.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: The film is a straight adaptation of the fairytale, starring the good and innocent princess Snow White and her vain Wicked Stepmother Queen Grimhilde.
  • Gonk: The Queen's hag disguise is far more stylized and grotesque than her true appearance. The dwarves are also drawn like this but in a much cuter way.
  • Grief Song: "Chorale For Snow White", which plays as the dwarfs grieve for the seemingly dead Snow White.
  • Hallucinations: Snow White's run in the forest where she imagines it's inhabited by monstrous tree creatures.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Doc tries to say, "who are you and what are you doing?" and comes up with "what are you and who are you doing?"
  • Hellish Pupils: The Queen in her hag form has a pair of green ones. Also the scary trees who scares Snow White (in her imagination).
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: When Snow White gets lost in the woods, a bunch wild animals take sympathy on her and take it upon themselves to try to help her. Except for a couple of raccoons, nearly all of these are herbivores.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: During the washing scene, Dopey is trying to get a bar of soap, but he ends up swallowing it by mistake, which causes him to continuously hiccup out bubbles.
  • High Collar of Doom: The Queen wears a high white collar with her black robe.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: Near the end the Evil Queen (in hag form) is trying to roll a boulder down on the dwarfs to crush them. After lightning destroys the cliff under her she falls and the boulder rolls down and crushes her offscreen.
  • Hollywood Costuming: As a minimum, Snow White. It's set in medieval Germany according to Word of God, yet her dress has short sleeves and a lower neckline than would be accurate. Oh and she has a 1930s hairstyle as opposed to the Rapunzel Hair she would probably sport.
  • Hollywood Kiss: The kiss between Snow White and the Prince, which brings her back to life.
  • Holy Pipe Organ: "Chorale for Snow White", which plays during the scene where the dwarfs mourn the sleeping Snow White, is a somber organ solo that evokes the mood of a funeral.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "Now I'll be the fairest one of all!"... after transforming herself into a hag. Presumably, there was a way to change back, because otherwise this makes no sense, and the Queen does refer to it as a "disguise".
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Dopey's (eventual) reaction to having eaten a bar of soap; he pats at his stomach for several seconds after finally realizing he ate it by mistake.
  • Imaginary Enemy: The monster-trees Snow White sees during the forest run sequence along with the alligators-logs are actually just the fragments of her imagination caused by her anxiety and fear after the Huntsman confessed to her that the Queen wants her dead.
  • Incoming Ham: How the Queen's hag form introduces herself:
    "My voice! My voice... (becomes rough and old) Ha ha ha ha ha! A perfect disguise! Eh he he he!
  • Indirect Kiss: Snow White kisses a dove, who then flies down to kiss the prince.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: The peddler disguise was comprised entirely of these. The shot of the recipe in the Queen's Disguises Book provides the page image.
  • Irony: The apple, in a way, DID made Snow White's wish come true.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Upon viewing the film, Leon Schlesinger (owner of rival animation studio Termite Terrace) remarked, "I need an animated feature like I need two assholes." He wasn't the only one - many animation execs at the time were extremely skeptical that feature-length animation could turn a profit. Today, Disney is one of the largest and most profitable media companies on the planet, and animated films are the rule more than the exception, while Schlesinger's legacy, the Looney Tunes, aren't doing quite so well.
  • "I Want" Song: "I'm Wishing" and "Someday My Prince Will Come".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Grumpy is initially opposed to having Snow White live with them, but he eventually warms up to her. When the dwarfs hear that Snow White is in trouble, Grumpy is the first to jump on a deer and yell "C'mon!" and leads the way. And at Snow White's funeral, notice that he is the one who puts flowers on top of Snow White's glass coffin.
  • Jeweler's Eye Loupe: In the mine scene, Doc is shown using a loupe to inspect the gems the dwarfs have mined.
  • Job Song: "Heigh Ho" is a song sung by the Seven Dwarfs about their job in the mine.
  • Karmic Transformation: The Queen gives us a rare case of a voluntarily self-inflicted version of this. A woman obsessed with beauty turns herself hideous as a disguise, but she spends the rest of the movie (and is most often remembered) that way.
  • Kick the Dog: The Queen kicks a jug of water into a skeleton reaching for the jug, presumably someone she imprisoned and allowed to die of dehydration.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After spending the whole movie on an obsessive quest to become the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, the Queen ends up dying as an elderly deformed hag.
  • Left the Background Music On: Downplayed near the end. The One Song reprisal begins during the coffin-building montage, then the Prince shows up, and if you look closely, you can see his mouth moving in sync with the lyrics.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Dopey is accompanied by an odd little theme most of the time (it can be heard most easily in the soap scene, and there's a pretty catchy piano rendition as part of the deleted bed-building sequence).
    • Grumpy has a comically moody bassoon-based theme of his own for when he saunters about. This theme is perhaps heard most prominently when he storms out and sits on the barrel just outside the cottage after Snow White tells the dwarfs to wash up.
    • The Queen's theme makes use of a descending chromatic scale, making it sound dark and menacing. You can hear it mostly when she's in her hag status, and it features prominently in the score accompanying the climactic chase.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: The Queen has long black hair under her wimple, but refreshingly averted with Snow White.
  • Lost in Imitation: The film was inspired by the 1916 film adaptation. It shows. For example, both films have the dwarves being named, Snow White with short hair, and the Wicked Stepmother forcing Snow White into servitude.
  • The Lost Woods: During her flight in the forest, Snow White's imagination makes it look like this.
  • Love at First Note: Which leads to the Love Theme "One Song".
  • Love Theme: "One Song."
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: The Queen's laboratory in the dungeon.
  • Magic Mirror: Possibly the Ur-Example here; this one has an ominous, evil-looking face.
  • Make a Wish: Snow White starts out singing to a wishing well, hoping for a prince to come.
  • Malaproper: Doc when he gets flustered. This was a specialty of comedian Roy Atwell, who voiced the character for the film. When they find Snow White in their cottage and the other dwarfs urge Doc to question her, he comes out with:
    "What are you and who are you doing?"
    • This gets Exploited when the dwarfs let Snow White sleep in their bedroom for the night. When Doc assures her that they'll be comfortable, Grumpy interjects "In a pig's eye!" This throws off Doc to the point where he calls the cottage a "pig sty".
  • Manly Tears: Grumpy when Snow White (apparently) dies.
  • The Marvelous Deer: The first creature that plainly reveals itself in the forest is a fawn.
  • Meaningful Names: The dwarfs. Except Doc, all of them have names describing their personalities.
  • Men Can't Keep House: The dwarfs' house was trashed and untidy until Snow White came in and cleaned it.
  • Mind Screw: All of Snow White's run in the forest. Seems like the entire forest has come to life to catch her.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • While the story is supposed to be in medieval Europe, we see raccoons, chipmunks, grey squirrels, California quails turkey vultures, and deer with antlers resembling a white-tailed deer, all of which are North American species.
    • Averted in the "Silly Song". Bashful sings "I chased a polecat up a tree/Way out upon a limb". How many North American viewers know what a polecat is?note 
  • Modest Royalty: Snow White's dress is pretty simple for a princess, and she knows how to cook and keep house for the dwarfs. Justified by that her Evil Stepmother forced her to wear plain clothes and work like a servant.
  • Mood Whiplash: Any time the film changes from a scene with Snow White and the Dwarfs to a scene with the Queen or vice versa, especially the transition from the Queen's transformation scene to the musical number "The Silly Song".
  • Musical Chores: "Whistle While You Work", the first half of "Heigh Ho", and "Buddle-Uddle-Um-Dum".
  • Natural Spotlight: Snow White in her glass coffin.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: As Snow White flees in the woods she slips and falls in a pond imagining the logs who float there to be aggressive alligators snapping at her. Luckilly it's all in her head.
  • Nightmare Face: The close up of the Queen the first time she reveals her old witch face (a perfect disguise). Also the gnarled faces on the trees Snow White imagines during the dark forest sequence.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The Queen, especially in her terrifying hag disguise.
  • Noble Demon: The Huntsman is portrayed as being extremely loyal to the Queen. Nevertheless he cannot bear to kill Snow White and ultimately defies the Queen so she may live.
  • No Name Given/Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Queen, the Prince, and the Huntsman.
    • If you happen to meet them at a Disney Theme Park, you'll find that the Queen and the Prince simply autograph their names as "The Queen" and "The Prince". Though apparently she's named "Grimhilde" in Disney mythos.
    • Allegedly the Prince's name during pre-production was either Florian or Frederick.
    • The closest thing he has to an "official" name, believe it or not, is "Prince Buckethead". He self-deprecatingly called himself that during his Meet Cute with Snow White in an earlier screenplay of the scene, as well as the comic strip adaptation of the movie.
  • No Song for the Wicked: The Queen doesn't have a Villain Song.
  • Obviously Evil: The Queen in disguise isn't exactly the most subtle of all the beasts of the field.
  • Odd Name Out: Doc (whose name, unlike the others, isn't an adjective describing his personality). Then again, he does seem to be the brains of the group. In many translations his name is altered to some variation of "Wise".
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The newly awakened Snow White riding sidesaddle on Prince Charming's white horse, while he leads them on foot toward his golden palace in the distance.
  • Off-Model:
    • Just slightly. While the Queen is dramatically running down the stairs, her cape seems to have extended to be the size of a wall-to-wall carpet.
    • Some of the characters don't look quite right in the theatrical poster. For examples, the Prince has longer hair than what's depicted in the film (even looking more like a teen), and the Huntsman looks like Bluto from the Popeye cartoons.
  • Offstage Villainy: It's implied the Queen committed other horrendous crimes before trying to kill Snow White - there are a lot of skeletons in her dungeon...
  • Oh, Crap!: Dopey when Sneezy, beneath him on the Totem Pole Trench, is about to sneeze.
  • Ominous Opera Cape: The Queen. She's actually wearing two capes, in that her sleeves are one wide piece of fabric connected across her back, under her main cape.
  • Ominous Owl: During Snow White's escape in the forest an owl screeches at her from a tree before flying away.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Grumpy's response to Snow White suddenly becoming their disciplinarian is arguably the closest to reasonable.
    • Grumpy's displeasure of having her around also stems from the fact that she's essentially a fugitive and he correctly predicts that the Queen will be able to find her thanks to her use of black magic. His anger at her being a disciplinarian could very well be the fact that they're doing each other favors (the dwarfs house her and she cooks for them) yet Snow White still bosses them around.
  • Overly Long Gag: The montage of the dwarves sleeping downstairs goes on for several minutes.
  • Painful Transformation: The Queen turning into the old woman is not shown as pleasant to her.
  • Palette Swap: Zig-zagged with the dwarfs. In the original story they were all essentially palette swaps of each other, but Disney gave each of them a distinct personality and with that gave them each a unique face. But all seven wear the exact same clothes, just in different colors.
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • Snow White. Like all of the princesses, she gets more fancy designs of her movie dress. Her merchandise particularly focuses on collar and skirt when it pimps her out.
    • The Queen wears a black and purple dress with white ermine trimming (although the animation doesn't make that clear) and some gold decorations.
  • Power Of Hate: A step in making the potion that transforms the Evil Queen into an old peddler woman is calling forth "A blast of wind to fan my hate."
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Dropping the too-tight laces and poisoned comb murder attempts was done because Walt knew they would kill the momentum of the story. Indeed, while there is a good amount of Disneyfication in this film, the changes are arguably beneficial in terms of pacing and interest.
  • Prehensile Tail: The rabbits, squirrels, and at one point a deer all use their tails as sweepers and dusters while cleaning the Dwarfs' cottage with Snow White. Another notable instance is when the fawn uses its tail to operate the sink's water pump.
  • Product Displacement: This movie originally premiered when RKO Radio Pictures distributed Disney's movies and shorts. Consequently, it ended with RKO's "Thunderbolt" Vanity Plate, overlapped by the words "A Walt Disney Feature Production in Technicolor". When Disney re-released the movie themselves, starting in The '50s, they replaced the Thunderbolt with a standard "The End" card. Eventually, the 2009 restoration of the movie had RKO's Vanity Plate reinstated.
  • Proud Peacock: The Evil Queen, who is vain and becomes jealous of Snow White for being the fairest in the land, has a throne topped with a sculpture of a peacock.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Queen's dress, although it's overshadowed by all the black.
  • Rags to Royalty: Trope Maker and Trope Namer of the second type, "Snow White Style".
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin:
    • Snow White. "Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow."
    • The Queen fit that description too; at least before she drank the potion.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: The magic mirror is effectively omniscient, and could provide the Queen with a wealth of information about any number of subjects, but she chooses to use it to look for any women that are prettier than her.
  • Remaster: In 1993, this became the first movie to undergo a digital restoration.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The dwarfs when they realize the Queen has (apparently) killed Snow White and furiously chase her down.
  • Rotoscoping: All the human characters are rotoscoped, aside from the Dwarfs (who arguably aren't truly "human"). The Queen's witch form notably avoids rotoscoping. There is one scene where Grim Natwick, Snow White's designer and one of her head animators, ditched the rotoscope and animated Snow White running down the stairs and checking the soup on his own. Walt himself praised that moment, and wished for all of Snow White's human animation to be that good (although no one bothered to tell him it wasn't rotoscoped).
  • Rule of Three: Used more than people realize. Usually found in visual gags, and in the music.
  • Rule of Seven: Takes the fairy tale's "seven dwarfs" and kicks it up a notch.
    Queen: Magic mirror on the wall, who now is the fairest one of all?
    Mirror: Over the seven jeweled hills, beyond the seventh fall, in the cottage of the Seven Dwarfs, dwells Snow White, fairest one of all.
  • Running Gag: Sleepy is often bothered by a fly throughout the film.
  • The Runt at the End:
    • Dopey.
    • Also the turtle among Snow White's animal friends. Turtles are slow, naturally.
  • Satellite Love Interest: The Prince. One of the video releases said that the original intent was for the Prince to be captured by the Queen while looking for Snow White and have scenes involving his imprisonment and breakout. They were dropped in favor of the climax focusing on the dwarfs. Prince Phillip later gets to do all these things, though.
  • Scavengers Are Scum: Surprisingly subverted with the vultures. They start out seeming like evil minions of the Queen (being essentially Evil Counterparts to Snow White's cute little songbirds), but in the end, it turns out that they're unaffiliated—they knew that in the final confrontation someone was gonna die, so they were quick to follow both the Queen and the Dwarves just waiting for one party to off the other. When the Queen kicks the bucket, they're quick to swoop down to eat the (thankfully unseen) remains.
  • Scenery Porn: Set a precedent for every animated Disney feature to come.
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: Several over the decades, most elaborately a 1979 production at Radio City Music Hall in New York City complete with Adaptation Expansion (several new songs, Snow White's father being a supporting character, etc.). That version was filmed and was an early Disney VHS release under the title Snow White Live.
  • Sidekick Song: "The Silly Song" is sung by the dwarfs to entertain Snow White after dinner.
  • Simple, yet Opulent: Snow White and the Queen both wear grand but simple dresses.
  • Skeleton Motif: When the Queen dips the apple in the Sleeping Death potion, the potion dripping from it forms a skull, "a symbol of what lies within".
  • Sleepyhead: Sleepy, naturally. He always looks like he could fall asleep at any moment.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Courtesy of Sneezy.
  • Solo Duet: "I'm Wishing" is a duet between Snow White and her own echo.
  • The Something Song: "The Silly Song".
  • The Speechless: Dopey.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's "dwarfs," not "dwarves". Tolkien's spelling change hadn't quite kicked in by then.
  • Spoonerism: Doc makes a few, the funniest being the aforementioned "what are you and who are you doing?"
  • Stock Sound Effect:
  • Storybook Opening: The Trope Maker. The story begins with a book opening and ends with the book closing, leaving a view of the back cover as "The End" screen appears.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: The monster trees who scares Snow White in the forest scene have glaring and scary-looking yellow eyes.
  • Team Mom: Snow White to the dwarfs; scarcely have they agreed to let her stay then she starts taking charge of the place.
  • Tempting Fate: Snow White tells the dwarfs that the Queen would never find her at their home. This turns out to not be true, as the Magic Mirror does know her location, and tells the Queen that Snow White is in the dwarfs' cottage, and the disguised Queen finds the cottage and Snow White there.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Cleaning up the house and hearing the birds sing leads Snow White and the animals into "Whistle While You Work".
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Let's see: First, the ledge the disguised Queen is standing on in the climax gets struck by lightning, which sends her falling to her death...and if that wasn't enough, the boulder she was trying to dislodge (to kill the dwarfs who were chasing her) falls right in the direction of where she was falling, just in case...oh, and the implications of her body being devoured by the vultures that were following her.
    • And yet, as the Witch, she does turn up in the Disney comics later; she must be made of pretty tough stuff.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: In the scene where Snow White first meets the prince, one of her bird friends blushes, going completely pink from the neck up.
  • Through His Stomach: Snow White's cooking is what really sells the dwarfs on letting her stay with them.
  • Totem Pole Trench: During the party that the dwarfs throw for Snow White, Dopey gets on Sneezy's shoulders and puts on a long blue coat so that the two of them can provide Snow White with a height-appropriate dance partner.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Snow White. Seriously, you'd think she'd know that taking candy from strangers (especially ones that were ugly old hags) was a bad idea.
    • Also, the disguised Queen, who tries attempting to kill the dwarfs by pushing a boulder from the ledge of a cliff... a terrible place to pick during a thunderstorm.
  • True Blue Femininity: Snow White's grand dress has a blue bodice and sleeves.
  • True Companions: Snow White forms a motherly bond with the Dwarves, who all adore her in turn (even Grumpy, in his own way).
  • True Love's Kiss: Replaces the jolting of the coffin to wake Snow White up. In a case of Unbuilt Trope, "true love" doesn't come into it: the kiss in question is instead designated "Love's First Kiss".
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: A Disney staple. The Queen takes her jealousy to dark extremes, treating it like an act of war. She is content with either having her rival's heart torn out of her corpse as trophy or be buried alive when a poison apple turns out to be a deep sleep curse. She's also a potential sorceress and an implied torturer, and the scene where she transforms into her old hag disguise is, even today, still considered one of the scariest moments in film. This jarringly contrasts with the rather whimsical vibe of the rest of the film.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The first proper scene is of the Queen consulting her Magic Mirror.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Queen suffers this, but initially a rare cold-blooded one once she realizes Snow White is still alive. Then after she transforms herself into an old witch, she definitely loses her temper and lets her emotions run the show.
  • Waiting Skeleton: As the Queen is leaving the castle to kill Snow White, she walks past a prison cell containing a skeleton on the ground, reaching for a jug just out of its grasp. When the Queen sees it, she laughs and says "Thirsty? Have a drink!" before kicking the jug over so that it hits the skeleton and shatters it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In the scene where the dwarfs wash up for supper, Dopey accidentally swallows a bar of soap, causing him to hiccup bubbles. This was eventually resolved... in the deleted soup scene, in which he also swallows a spoon.
    • Also, we never get to see how the huntsman turned out, although it's apparent from how immediately the queen left to deal with Snow White that she didn't have time to deal with him.
    • What did happen to the queen's magic mirror, anyway? A couple of adaptations actually address this:
      • The French novelization has the Queen destroy it before her transformation
      • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the slave in the mirror is freed after the Queen dies.
    • One of the forest animals who helps Snow White is a tortoise, who has trouble doing anything due to being so slow. The last time we see it, it's been knocked over by the dwarfs as they hurry back to the cottage - it doesn't even appear during the scenes of everyone mourning.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Possibly the Ur-Example for animated films. The "cute" forest animals' only purpose for most of the film is to make Snow White seem kind and pure. The "dark" animals, like the ravens and vultures, are reserved for the Queen.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: For the production team, they had a difficult time trying to do dramatic scenes with the characters because they were worried that audiences at the time would find the concept of one drawing trying to kill another drawing to be silly. Before this movie there was never really any attempt to make the audience really sympathize with a cartoon character.
  • When Trees Attack: Subverted, since it's just Snow White's imagination.
  • White Stallion: At the end of the movie, the Prince takes Snow White away on his white horse.
  • Wishing Well: Snow White wishes for a prince at one of these.
  • Wicked Witch: One of the very first, in the form of the Evil Queen. She dons the more stereotypical "witch" look once she takes the potion that transforms her into the Hag.
  • Younger Than They Look: Walt Disney was aiming to make Snow White look to be around 14 years old, though she still seems a tad older than that.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The Queen's dungeon is inhabitated by some slimy and ugly rats.


Video Example(s):


Queen Grimhilde

Queen Grimhilde is Snow White' evil stepmother.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilMatriarch

Media sources:

Main / EvilMatriarch